Blasts ROCK Mumbai!!

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Aug 13, 2004
At least 20 people have been killed and many injured after seven blasts rocked the western commuter railway network in India's financial capital during evening rush hour, police said.

"We have a fair number of casualties, 20 dead bodies have reached the KM Hospital, there are more casualties. The city is on high alert," Mumbai police commissioner A.N. Roy told reporters Tuesday.

"And more casualties are coming in," he said.

The apparently coordinated blasts occurred at packed railway stations or on trains in the Matunga, Khar, Mahim, Jogeshwari, Borivali and Bhayendar localities in and around Mumbai, Roy said.

A seventh blast occurred at a subway in the Khar area, he said, adding that all the blasts occurred within 20 minutes of each other.

"We are trying to get the situation under control," said Roy. "The priority is to maintain law and order to ensure that traffic moves and that people get home."

"I would only appeal to people to stay calm and not go by rumours."

The western rail service, which was targeted by the blasts, has been discontinued.

"The fourth carriage is completely wrecked and we have seen between eight to 10 heavily injured people being brought out," said a witness to the Khar blast, local shopkeeper Gopi Chand.

"The blast was so powerful that we thought we were hit by lightning. It shook our market," Chand said.

Television footage showed dazed commuters with blood dripping from gaping injuries being carried by fellow travellers to waiting ambulances near Mahim station. Others frantically tried to call their relatives on mobile telephones.

"People began jumping off our running train when a bomb went off and filled the carriage with smoke and fire," said a commuter with serious injuries to his left arm and shoulder at Mahim station.

Firemen scoured the wreckage of a train that was hit by a blast in Matunga rail station. Police said the blasts had occurred on first class carriages of the commuter trains.

The sprawling city of Mumbai, which is noted for its extensive underworld, has seen several bombings in the past. It was rocked in 1993 by a series of blasts which killed some 250 people and injured over 1,000.

On March 9 two separate blasts rocked the holy Hindu city of Varanasi, leaving more than a dozen killed and scores injured.

Police have blamed Muslim underground figures or Kashmiri militants for most of the attacks.

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